More than a feeling-W.I.S.E. Project 2016

Sunsets, sunrise, high tide, full moons…they are beautiful moments  but like most good moments they are fleeting. Like the wind in your hair on hot summers day with the dial turned up and the open road ahead of you and that momentary perception of pure joy. It’s a feeling, a second, a minute if you are lucky. These are the moments that make up our lives but often we need to coach ourselves to breath in, look around and enjoy them before they are gone. When we practice gratitude we experience more of these moments that enrich our lives.

How often do wish you could capture the feeling of a place? Maybe it’s your lakeside cabin or your grandpa’s farmhouse. It’s more than that initial awe that strikes you when you glimpse it for the very first time; it’s the feeling of unceremonious joy and gratitude you get when you are there that lingers in your memory and beckons you back. I am an East Coast girl living in the big bad West. I am equally torn between my love of the soothing ocean and the larger than life mountains. Every wave in the ocean and every glacial mountain peak cradle a piece of my soul.

Our lives are busy and they go by so fast. I always welcome any opportunity to get lost in a spot away from everyday stresses where time is told by the rise of the sun and the fall of the moon instead of my cell phone alarm.

We had a friend visiting his family in B.C. during his summer sojourn from New Zealand. We knew his time was precious and how hard it is to make time for everyone in a few short weeks. We were planning a little family getaway to the Okanagan region hoping to meet up with our friend before he bounced back to his island nation.

Time was getting short and we had yet to make a plan. This wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew how difficult last minute bookings in the summer can be, especially in the mountains. I was hit in the face with a summer cold so armed with a steaming cup of Neo Citron and my laptop I set out to find a place to suit us that would be a reasonable drive for our friend from Revelstoke, have brilliant scenery and abundant outdoor space, be clean and bright with a generous amount of comfortable capacity and be remarkably “uncommon”.  On top of all of this I wanted it to be fairly priced.

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I dislike hotels and when I go away I appreciate staying in places that have a great story.  I was coming up empty and not feeling very confident in getting what I had envisioned when I happened upon an ad for a solar powered eco retreat in the wilds of Larch Hills which was a twenty five minute scenic drive from Salmon Arm in the North Okanagan region of beautiful British Columbia. We were spending a couple of days in Mara Lake close by so the location was absolutely perfect.

The retreat is called Tin Poppy. It is a 1953, 32’ Travel Trailer built into a sizable, avant-garde abode. The 200 sq. ft. trailer is encased in a modern screened-in post and beam structure bringing the space up to 1200 square feet in total. The structure boasts a myriad of natural light, comfort, conveniences and charm.

The owner Maggie was in France when I contacted her but was very quick to respond and accommodate our request. I had been looking forward to meeting the people that had not only imagined such a space but had brought it to fruition. Unfortunately the day before our booking Maggie contacted me to say that their plane had been delayed and they were stuck in the U.K. but she had a friend make sure the space was ready for our arrival. It was spotlessly clean, fresh poppies were in a vase in the living space and luxurious bath robes and towels were laid out for us to take advantage of the outdoor shower. It was a hot day in the Okanagan so we chose to shower and change before our company arrived.

Though private and contemporary with hot water on demand, the outdoor shower is alluringly close to nature. The bathroom and toilet are conveniently located inside off of a spacious foyer between the living space and the stairs to the look-off. There is a door leading to the the bbq deck on one side, the opposite side takes you to the large entryway which leads to the outdoor shower and another separate sun deck. The other side of the retreat is embraced by wild flowers and Hollyhocks, it is reminiscent of an English country garden looking beautifully unplanned as if Mother Nature just happened to wave her wand on that very spot and mesmerized it. There is a huge rock fire pit overlooking the hills that is beautiful by the light of the North Okanagan moon. Tin Poppy also has a 6 person wood-fired Finnish style sauna to the left of the fire pit for some added luxury.

The kitchen is cozy and it is well equipped to cook full meals. The hosts have literally thought of everything.

We had a visit from a large cat that we found out later was named Leo and shortly after our arrival we had a visit from three dogs of varying sizes and breeds. My family loves animals so we were so happy for the company. The one dog had only three legs but a mammoth personality and he loved the interaction and didn’t want to leave us. He was quiet and loving and being around him made me feel peaceful and I wish I had brought our dogs. I spoke with Maggie and found out that they were their dogs and that a neighbor was watching them while they were away. The dog that didn’t want to leave our side was Sammi. As I  mentioned we are animal lovers and were happy to allow Sammi and Leo to keep us company and spend the night. I didn’t have dog food but Sammi seemed to approve of steak for dinner. If you have allergies or do not care for pets your experience would be different and Maggie would not allow the animals to come around but we felt comforted by their presence.

Our daughter had been out of touch with her friends for a few days so she took advantage of the wifi while Kirk caught up with our friend over music and cold drinks and I whipped up a big dinner.

We enjoyed wine and great conversation over a late dinner and watched as the moon slowly fell below the tree line and the temperature fell with it. The hot sun that had streamed in through the screens was replaced by a cool breeze. The guys built a fire in the pit and we spent some time under the mountain moon in a star filled sky with a fire crackling in the background. We felt miles away from the ordinary and I consciously reminded myself to breath it all in.

Our buddy chose to sleep in the lookoff under the star filled sky and our daughter chose the cozy second bedroom in the trailer. Long after they drifted off to sleep my husband and I made snacks in the kitchen and settled in the cozy trailer nook and turned the heat up. We streamed some very old music and opened another bottle of wine, curled up together and wondered aloud how many people had gotten to enjoy this space since 1953. We felt like we were among some great company. Tin Poppy has some great old bones. We sipped and sang until the wee hours of the morning feeling gracious and fulfilled before retiring to the cheerful queen room.

I woke early but the sun rose before me. I made coffee in the French press and started breakfast in the cast iron frying pan while everyone else slept. The light of day at Tin Poppy is as equally impressive as the dark of night. I was as enamored by the expansive light filled Poppy as I was by a crackling fire under the Okanagan moon.

We ate a hearty breakfast before saying goodbye to our friend, a short but sweet visit before he journeyed back to his home on the South Western Pacific Ocean. Though miles and oceans of time may separate us daily we truly felt that we all discovered a magical place together and we know that our friendship coupled with Tin Poppy’s magnetic charm will draw us together there again.

Tin Poppy is perfectly suited to family holidays, a getaway with friends, mountain and or/beach vacations, winery tours, romantic holidays, hiking and biking, ski vacations in the winter…it is multi functional. If you are bored of ordinary, Tin Poppy will not fail to charm you. Thank you to Maggie for providing me with some of the photos, some of them are from our early July stay.

If you are planning a trip to beautiful British Columbia I would definitely consider Tin Poppy. Below I have provided some links for you.

Tin Poppy on Facebook

Tin Poppy Website

Tin Poppy on AirBnB

July’s W.I.S.E. principles are welcome, innocent, special and enjoy. Tin Poppy has encompassed all of those things for me in a short but memorable visit!

I hope you are enjoying a fabulous summer and welcoming time with family and friends, enjoying special moments and the innocence of new beginnings.

I am traveling to Nova Scotia this weekend to properly welcome my new granddaughter and enjoy my own family and indulge in special times and create new and lasting memories. Cheers to you as July winds down.

Chat soon,

Michelle xo

Carefree-Weekly photo Challenge

I have a lot of shots that could fit into this category but I think this one signifies total abandonment of   inhibitions which to me is Carefree. This is on a summer trip to remote British Columbia, far away from city life. The quietly encouraging sunshine watches over her and the only sound my daughter is hearing is the beat of her own heart-Carefree

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Summer memories make everything feel magical to me — carefree and untroubled.

Even on the trips where everything went wrong, I look back and smile at the narrow escapes, or the long walks on a beach while I sorted out and righted the world.

Whether a good memory was made in years past, yesterday, or only moments ago, I love letting the nostalgia wrap me up — like a borrowed sweater on a cold summer night. Even more, I love making new memories: a carefree summer at the lake, a stroll through the park, dancing in the rain… then all I need to do is remember, and the same carefree feeling washes over me.

In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo that means CAREFREE to you!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/photo-challenge-carefree/

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Only heart is home

Daily Prompt: There’s No Place Like Home

Posted by michelle w.
If you had the opportunity to live a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, would you do it? Do you need a home base? What makes a place “home” to you? Photographers, artists, poets: show us MOVING.

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Oceans song first lullaby

Rugged tides your first embrace

The mountains quietly watchful

In all their perfect grace

Only a river runs through them
A memory cannot erase
To love only to leave
But knowing no disgrace

Traveling here and settling there
One day gone without a trace
Leaving smiles, not promises
Strength like leather, a heart like lace

Drink it in, breath it’s life
To see as much, sets your pace
Don’t plants roots to watch them wither
The thrill is in the sun you chase

Michelle

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/daily-prompt-moving/

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Heart to Heart

Daily Prompt: Far from Home

by michelle w. on July 15, 2013

Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us DISTANCE.

When I moved to Edmonton I was terrified. I felt “comfortable” in my small town. I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t scared. The thought of raising my children in a big city that I didn’t know scared me more then you can ever imagine. I am stubborn though! When people told me that I would hate it and I would be back in six months, the real stubborn me came out. Who in their right mind would sell their house and move their children across Canada without putting everything they had into making it work? Not me, that is for sure.                   

I was an Eastern snob, I never even had a desire to visit West let alone live here. I am one of those bitches that thought nothing existed past Ontario (I am not kidding) Mountains Smoutains, who really cared?? Nova Scotia had the Ocean. In my defiance to prove everyone wrong I became excited. I rented a house site unseen in an old neighborhood in North Edmonton and the only thing I really knew is that it was close to the Elementary school and an Old friendly guy lived across the road. They also would take our Dog and that was crucial.

Kirk had been away for six months….six months straight when he flew home to move us.His job in the Oil Sands kept him extremely busy and the best choice for us as a family was to relocate. I sold the house (privately on my own), Packed up eight years of memories, made all the arrangements and when Kirk landed to help pack the U haul he just wanted to go to the beach. It was midsummer, why not? A couple hours at the beach would do us all good. The girls and I spent a lot of time at the beach and we all loved it. We lost track of time playing in the sand and surf and when we went to check on Kirk he was lying in the fetal position on a blanket with a strip burnt into the side facing the sun. OUCH!

We spent that last night at our house packing up last minute items and hanging out with friends. To say the least it was unusual, I hadn’t seen my husband for six months and there was a time when I wasn’t even sure that we would make it and here we were our fist time together in six months surrounded by boxes in a house we had bought together when I was pregnant with Morgan. We had brought both our girls home from the hospital to that house. They had learned to drive their bikes in that driveway, they had childhood dreams in those bedrooms, first birthday parties, first steps, first words. The next day our best friends came to help pack our life into a Uhaul. It was surprisingly quick! Morgan was a mess. She was eight at the time and certain that we were ruining her life. Her Aunt Anna swooped in to the rescue and took her home. The moving festivities were too much for her.

Our friends were having us a going away party. Everyone was expecting to see us soon; I don’t think anyone imagined that we would actually start a whole new life in Edmonton. When the U haul was packed and Haley was settled at my Moms I went back to the house to clean up and pick up the cat. With the house empty it was just that. It was a house…not a home. I had stressed for months about how I was going to ever say goodbye to the place that we raised our children. Oh boy if those walls could talk. We had loved in that house more then anyone in the world has ever loved. We had been husband and wife, best friends, lovers, parents and every imaginable thing in between. When you take the people out of the home it remains just a house. You get to take the memories with you. Some of them I wanted to leave behind…

I stood there in that empty house and I didn’t feel any sadness or heartache. I felt excited for what was to come.

Logistically I have been further away from home then Edmonton but on the 6 hour flight to Edmonton I felt like I was travelling a lifetime away from home and my family and friends. I felt choked but I couldn’t allow my kids to think that I was anything but excited for this new adventure. My Mom gave me a delicate silver necklace with hearts woven together. It is an unbroken circle symbolizing that our hearts would be connected no matter where we were. I have been in Edmonton now for five years and the most valuable lesson that my mother taught me was that the quickest way to travel is “heart to heart”

HEART TO HEART

You never feel so far away

I keep you in my heart

Your laugh, your smile, your silly ways

We are never far apart

Often a song, a movie, a quote

Or something crazy we laughed about

Makes me smile or shed a tear

But never a  useless pout

For miles are not the distance

We measure how far apart

We are never more then a beat away

When we travel from heart to heart.

Michelle DeBay

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/daily-prompt-distance/

Light dancing with the night

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.(New) photographers, artists, poets: show us OPPOSITE.

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This is a picture I took in Seattle in March. I love the way the lights dance with the pavement at nightfall,  it created something special.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/category/daily-prompts/

Golden Hour-Weekly Photo Challenge

IN A NEW POST CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PICTURE TAKEN DURING THE GOLDEN HOUR.

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This picture was taken on our recent trip to the West Kootenays,  in a little place called Faulkier, British Columbia.  This is the lakefront at a 100 acre orchard nestled in the woods along the Arrow Lakes. I caught a picture just as the last bit of daylight was retreating into the summer evening sky.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/the-golden-hour/#more-31440

Nakusp, British Columbia

Nakusp, British Columbia

This is for the WordPress photo a day challenge for FORWARD. Looking forward to next weekend when we take the 9 hour trip to beautiful Nakusp for a relaxing mini vacation on a private beach on Lower Arrow Lakes overlooking the mountains. They are in the midst of a heat wave so the water will be a great idea. This place is magical and so very good for my soul. It brings us closer to nature and to each other. Looking FORWARD with happy anticipation.